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New UT band for students not wanting to play 'The Eyes of Texas' delayed

The band will be an academic, for-credit course and will focus on members leading and directing bands as well as community engagement.

AUSTIN, Texas — The launch of the University of Texas at Austin's new band for students not wanting to play "The Eyes of Texas" has been delayed by administrators, reports state.

According to a report from KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman, the band will be delayed until at least 2023. The delay comes after the new and currently unnamed band was set to launch this fall, but it has been pushed back until UT hires a new director for the Butler School of Music. 

The new band will be an academic, for-credit course and will focus on members leading and directing bands, as well as community engagement. The Longhorn Band that everyone in attendance of the football games is familiar with will still perform at campus events, which is still required to play the alma mater and fight song, according to the Statesman.

In a previous report from the Statesman, some members of the Longhorn Band had reportedly refused to play "The Eyes of Texas" due to its history, which is said to have debuted at a minstrel show with a student that was likely in blackface. 

This refusal triggered a commitment within the university to publish a report on the song that found there was racist origin but not racist intent. 

The former director of the Butler School of Music, Mary Ellen Poole, left to serve as Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University two months after the announcement for the new band. Poole held the position since 2014.

In the meantime, Jeff Helmer, former director of jazz studies at UT, has been serving as the interim director of the Butler School as the university has been searching for the full-time director.  

In May of last year, the university announced the hiring of Cliff Croomes, the first Black director of the Longhorn Band.

Read more regarding the new band through the Statesman

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